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An Adventure Game released for the PS2 by Konami in 2001, and titled Shadow of Memories originally and outside of the US. It was later ported to the PC, Xbox, and eventually the PSP.The main character of the game is Eike Kusch, a young man who is murdered during the game's first cutscene. Pretty short game? Well, not really — Eike is promptly revived by a being called Homunculus, who offers him the chance to change his fate. Eike, naturally enough, accepts. However, the killer isn't going to be put off by being thwarted just once. If Eike wants to live, he'll have to find the real reason someone's out for his blood, which may be rooted deeper in history than he can imagine.The game soon falls into a pattern: Eike is killed at the beginning of a level, revived, and then must travel into the past in order to prevent his death from occurring. The plot, however, swiftly becomes very complicated, as details about the reason for Eike's deaths, the possible identities of his killer, and the Homunculus's true motives are brought into play. The choices the player makes over the course of the game retroactively decide Eike's true origin and nature, and determine which of the six possible endings will be shown. Another two endings become available once the first six have been completed.
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
Affably Evil: Homunculus - he's polite and doesn't really do anything evil (with the notable exception of kidnapping people and having them sent into different points in time), but he often leaves disconcerting messages to Eike. Also, his plan isn't as bad as you would think - he just wants to ensure that he isn't Ret Goned from existence. He's even friendly and chatty with Eike at points, though his default reaction to finding out Eike has been killed and having to pull his soul out of the time stream hovers somewhere between polite amusement and mild exasperation that Eike's taking a while to figure out how to escape death.
About the evilest things he does involve killing the doctor or Hugo in two different endings (the former of which he lied about). And of course there's the little detail that he owns Eike's soul. The doctor sold his soul to Homunculus for immortality and became Eike. It's why he can continually be brought back.
To add on to the politeness, in one of the endings Homunculus only needs to collect the digipad from Eike to wrap up his plan, instead of just taking it he even reminds Eike beforehand that he's forgotten to return someone to their own time and lets him do so if he wants.
Ambiguous Gender: Homunculus. He's referred to as male and has a male voice, but you'd be forgiven for thinking he was a girl.
Complexity Addiction: Eike's schemes to prevent his demise are comically complicated. A notable example is going back in time, saving a woman from harassment, meeting said woman's family, and then performing a minor fetch quest all to prevent a tree that the killer will hide behind from ever being planted rather than just not standing near the tree.
Other hare brained schemes include telling a man in the 1900's to build a library so that Eike can research the cure to Sea Hare poison in the present, and find some even further back in the past (as opposed to not eating the poison). Giving an aspiring film-maker a pep-talk so his film poster gathers a crowd to scare away an assassin (instead of not walking out at night). And a long chain of deals involving a faberge egg expy to get a street sign/frying pan to use as makeshift body armor to avoid getting stabbed.
To top it all off, Eike could have spent one jump to spy on or directly confront the killer. Even if it failed, knowing the identity of the killer would have let him resolve the plot in at least half the time.
Whodunnit to Me: ...And he spends most of the game trying to figure out who's trying to kill him.
Deal with the Devil: Subverted. Eike assumes that Homunculus wants his soul in exchange for bringing him back to life, but Homunculus considers such a deal old-fashioned. This is then Double Subverted in Endings D and E.
Deliberately Monochrome: The levels set in the distant (1900's) and far past (1500's) are shown as shades of gray and sepia, respectively.
Easily Forgiven: Eike, no question. He accepts Mr. Eckhart's apology for trying to murder him without hesitation. More jarringly, in Ending E, he even forgives Hugo despite his multiple attempts to kill Eike!
Empty Room Psych: The Cathedral. It's present in every timeline, but can only be entered in two occasions in the present, and it has nothing inside. Well, except for some interesting architecture and an energy unit, but who cares about that?
The Wagner's house and parts of the Museum also qualify, both have a lot of nice rooms with nothing in them, not even paintings to add to your 100% Completion.
Fortune Teller: Eike visits one in order to learn the estimated times in which an attempt on his life will be made. She used to be the page image. She's also the result of an experiment Gone Horribly Wrong.
Idiot Hero: Eike takes a mind-bogglingly long time to grasp the full implications of time travel, or even realize that's what's going on at all. Amusingly, he also tends to make ridiculously complicated plans and changes; he might very well be the only instance of someone being both an Idiot HeroandThe Chessmaster.
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Eike Kusch. Since the game appears to be set in Germany, the name is most likely supposed to be pronounced "Eye-kuh Koosh", but the English voice actors pronounce it as "Ike Kush". Dr. Wagner's name is continuously mispronounced as "Wag-ner", whereas anyone with even a passing knowledge of classical music can tell you it should be "Vahg-ner".
Eike's name is actually pronounced that way in the Japanese version as well, so it wasn't a localisation mistake in any case.note His name is written as "Aiku Kasshu" in Japanese phonetics, which would sound like "Ike Kush". Same deal with the mispronunciation of Wagner, which is "Wāgunā" in Japanese phonetics, which is the same as how the original Wagner's name is written in Japanese. The only one whose pronunciation did change was Dana, who was "Day-na" in the English version but "Dan-na" ("Dana" in Japanese phonetics) in the Japanese version. Incidentally, both are acceptable pronunciations of the name.
Wagner's pronunciation was corrected on the PSP version.
Mind Screw: With a plot designed to make sense after you've played the game six times, it's only to be expected.
Multiple Endings: An interesting example, as the game's time travel theme essential means all the endings are possible in their own way.
A: Eike discovers the truth about Homunculus it was "created" by Wagner and it switched Dana and Margarete and the fortune-teller she's the lingering spirit of Helena, Wagner's wife and Hugo's mother. "Wagner", brought back by Homunculus, dissuades Hugo from trying to use the Stone, and everyone returns to their time.
B: this ending has two variations, which depends on what truth Eike discovers, the fortune-teller's or Homunculus'. In the former, she sacrifices herself to stop Hugo; in the latter, Eckart manages to dissuade Hugo from killing his daughter. In both cases, Eike doesn't know the whole story.
D: Eike creates a paradox by burning Wagner's notes, preventing the story from happening in the first place. A flashback reveals that Eike is Wagner, cursed with eternal youth and regularly scheduled amnesia by Homunculus.
E: Eike brings Margarete in his time; she then convinces Hugo to drop his plans and return home. Dana stays in the present. Eike doesn't know that Homunculus switched the two girls.
Additionally, two "Extra" endings are available after obtaining all the "normal" ones.
EX 1: Eike gives Wagner the Stone, so that he could save his wife. The story never happened.
Never the Selves Shall Meet: If Eike ever touches a past or future self, both get erased from time. Notably, this is one of the only ways you can get a Game Over. In one possible outcome, you can have Hugo erase himself from time when he grabs his older self to protect his sister. Also, one of the secret endings involves you destroying Homunculus by throwing the Philosopher's Stone at him and destroying him. This works because the stone is basically him crystallized as Sealed Evil in a Can.
New Game+: The EX endings, accessible by playing the game after completing all six regular endings.
Place Beyond Time: Homunculus' pad. A checkered floor floating in darkness, artfully decorated with broken statuary, strewn books, grandfather clocks, and a floating window. For an immortal genie, he's a bit of a slob. This is where Eike gets dumped after dying. Homunculus mostly hangs here to avoid paradox erasing him from existence if Eike dies.
Parental Incest: Ending E, where Eike ends up with Dana, who is his own biological daughter from the medieval period. While neither of them are aware of this though, there is a vestigial remnant of familial feeling as Dana gets a "cool dad" vibe from Eike as he seems (in her own words), "with it all". However, this doesn't stop them at all from acting on their mutual attraction.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: This is how Eike can get the EX endings. The dialog options on the New Game+ change to reflect that he knows he's had this happen before. Armed with Out of Character knowledge, he can change his actions and end the game in the opening chapter! And erase himself from existence in the process.
Screw Destiny: One of the main themes of the game is that you can choose your fate, as demonstrated by Eike.
Too Dumb to Live: Eike probably would have survived Ending C if he wasn't laying on the road. Homunculus even warned him beforehand that his life was in danger, and he ignored it.
You Can't Fight Fate: One of the main themes of the game is you can't fight what's coming to you, as demonstrated by Homunculus. (Yes, this directly contradicts the Screw Destiny theme. We told you it was a Mind Screw.)